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Contact: Linda Friar, 305-242-7714
HOMESTEAD, FLORIDA -- Superintendent Dan Kimball is pleased to announce that the National Park Service will reopen “Chekika” to the public for day use on December 1, 2008 and remain open until May 1, 2009. Chekika is open seasonally due to a tendency to flood during the wet season. This popular part of the Park is in the northeastern part of the park at the west end of SW168th Avenue and will be open from dawn to dusk. Chekika offers picnicking opportunities and a short hiking trail through the hammock. It is also a good staging location for bicycle rides along the paved roads and canal banks in the East Everglades section of the park. Portable rest-rooms and drinking water are available.
This popular local natural resource is also steeped in historical significance. “Chekika” is named after a famous Seminole chief and Indian leader during the Seminole Wars. His men used a tree island similar to this one as a staging point for a raid on Dr. Henry Perrine who was killed on Indian Key in 1842. Troops from Ft. Dallas (Miami), led by Colonel Harney after the raid attacked the hammock and killed chief Chekika. The actual tree island where Chekika was killed is about 10 miles from present day Chekika in Shark River Slough in Everglades National Park.
Before becoming Chekika State Recreation Area in 1970 the area was a private resort called Grossman Hammock Mineral Springs, famed for a bubbling mineral spring that some believed had healing powers.
Chekika was added to Everglades National Park in 1991, along with 44,000 acres of state owned lands in the Everglades, as part of the Everglades Expansion Act of 1989. This land, once completely annexed into the park, will play an important role in restoration of the entire Everglades ecosystem.
From the intersection of Kendall Drive (SW 88th St) and Krome Avenue (SW 177th Ave.) head south for about 5 miles to SW 168th Street. Turn right and proceed west on 168th until 237th Ave. (6 miles). Turn right on 237th Ave. The entrance to Chekika is on your left.